"The Five Wounds of the Liturgical Mystical Body of Christ"

"The Five Wounds of the Liturgical Mystical Body of Christ"
"The Five Wounds of the Liturgical Mystical Body of Christ" according to Bishop Athanasius Schneider: 1. Mass versus populum. 2. Communion in the hand. 3. The Novus Ordo Offertory prayers. 4. Disappearance of Latin in the Ordinary Form. 5. Liturgical services of lector and acolyte by women and ministers in lay clothing.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

self-absorbed promethean neopelagianism

Is this directed at traditionalists (from Evangelii Gaudium)?

"The other is the self-absorbed promethean neopelagianism of those

 who ultimately trust only in their own powers and feel superior to 

others because they observe certain rules or remain intransigently 

faithful to a particular Catholic style from the past. A supposed 

soundness of doctrine or discipline leads instead to a narcissistic 

and authoritarian elitism, whereby instead of evangelizing, one 

analyzes and classifies others, and instead of opening the door to 

grace, one exhausts his or her energies in inspecting and verifying.

 In neither case is one really concerned about Jesus Christ or others.

These are manifestations of an anthropocentric immanentism. It is 

impossible to think that a genuine evangelizing thrust could emerge

 from these adulterated forms of Christianity."

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Posted in Apostolates on November 26, 2013


Since 2007, the Shrine of Christ the King in Chicago has embraced a devotion to the Infant King, including a monthly novena. The devotion is gaining more and more adherents, both locally and nationally. In response to some queries about this devotion, Canons of the Shrine answer questions posed to them by the faithful in an interview format.
The questions generally fall into three separate categories: 1) about the Infant King Statue, 2) about the Infant King devotion in general, and 3) about the practice of the novena at the Shrine, including the Children’s Blessing
Infant King

Part I - About this particular statue of the Infant King

How did this image come to be chosen as the symbol of, and the object of, devotion at the Shrine of Christ the King? A. The mission of the Institute is to draw people closer to our Lord and to spread the splendors of His Kingdom. The Divine Infant, being adorable and approachable, is an ideal representation of Christ's perfections that everyone can relate to; He is attractive and imitable.
Is there a special history behind this 18th century statue? A. Devotion to the Divine Infant is old. The devotion’s true origin appears already in Sacred Scripture with the example of the Blessed Virgin, St. Joseph, the Shepherds, and, who could forget the Adoration of the Magi. The popular devotion as we know it has been particularly strong in Spain since the 15th Century. This statue at the Shrine was crafted in Spain, as part of that wave of devotion. It was gifted to the Shrine by a benefactor. Its craftsmanship, construction, and artistic merits suggest its age to be the 18th Century, if not earlier.
When the statute came into the Shrine’s possession, did it need a lot of restoration work? A. It was well-preserved and in very good condition; all it needed was some touching up and a new set of liturgical garments. You’ll notice that He wears a stole as well. This is to remind us that the Infant King is also Sovereign Priest.
Was it important that it be crowned and formally installed at the Shrine of Christ the King in Chicago, IL by Cardinal George? A. "The more you honor Me the more I will bless you" is the promise of the Infant King. The coronation ceremony is a beautiful public display of honor. Having the Ecclesiastical authority do the crowning shows that the Cardinal grants full approval of this devotion and designates the Shrine to be a particular place of honor for the Infant King. This statue is a very special sacramental. Sacramentals are one of the means through which grace is conferred. The blessing and installation of relics and statues in a church, for example, are important because they can inflame our hearts to devotion and open our hearts to grace.
Infant King

Infant King
What is the significance or connection of the Infant King to the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest? A. The devotion to the Infant King is a wonderful expression of Salesian Spirituality in the service of our Divine King. St. Francis de Sales, our spiritual father, had a very special devotion to the Christ Child and Christmas was his favorite feast day. It is in the Christ Child that we see majesty and sweetness; divinity and accessibility; holiness and attraction. This is the very message the members of the Institute preach: that our Faith is inviting; the practice of our Faith is joyful and sanctity awaits us.

Part II - About the novena to the Infant King

Why a novena from 17th-25th of each month? A. The 25th follows a widespread tradition of honoring the day in which the Christ Child was born.
Since the crowning ceremony by Cardinal George in 2007, have the Canons noticed the number of devotion to the Infant King increase? A. Definitely, both locally and nationally. As more people learn about the devotion to the Divine Infant, the more they grow attached to the Incarnate Word, the Second Person of the Trinity, and His love for mankind.
To your knowledge, is there another regular novena which commemorates the Nativity on the 25th of each month? A. We were not aware of any when we started this devotion; however, it is our fervent hope that the effort at the Shrine will inspire deep devotions to the Infant King in many hearts – locally as well as nationally.
Why is it important to conclude the monthly novena with a High Mass? A. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the highest form of prayer we can offer God. There is a profound harmony that binds faith, liturgy, life, and beauty in our lives as Catholics. Thus it is fitting that at the summit of our devotion to the Infant King, we give glory to God as much as we can through the sacred liturgy. Visitors to the Shrine will find a High Mass offered with glorious music on the 25th of each month in honor of the Infant King.
From your observation of the faithful, what would you say is the chief benefit of having a devotion to the Divine Infant? A. It may sound redundant, butthe chief benefit of this devotion is that we all grow in devotion, in devotedness. The Infant King devotion makes us become more devout. The adorably attractive charism of the Christ Child, not only increases the faithful’s desire for holiness, but also shows that we can get there by "baby steps"; little by little. His warm smile instantly conquers our temptations to discouragement.
Infant King
What's your favourite part of the novena and why? A. (Canon Stein) my answer is two-fold. As the celebrant offering the Mass, I love having the Infant King statue so close to the Altar and I love literally taking Him into my arms for the procession. I feel a great union of heart with Our Lady, St. Joseph, St. Anthony of Padua, and so many others who truly carried the Christ Child during their lives. As the Vice-Rector of the Shrine, I love seeing the children gather and offer their young hearts every month to the Infant King. In this moment their dignity and innocence shine as an example for others and they themselves feel called to a more profound imitation of Christ’s virtues at home.
Who composed the Infant King Novena prayer? A. Venerable Cyril, a Carmelite from Prague and great devotee to the Infant Jesus, composed this prayer to the famous Infant of Prague, which, like our statute, also had its origin in Spain, but earlier, from the 15th Century.

Part III - About the practice of the devotion at the Shrine

How are the submitted intentions presented? A. All intentions are printed out and placed at the foot of the Offering stand, and they remain there for the duration of the novena.
Why flowers and candles? A. The flowers and the candles are a wonderful, visible display of the faithful’s love, devotion and petitions.
Have specific prayers been answered by those who recite this novena each month? A. God’s magnanimity is immeasurable. However, by means of a modern form of Ex votos we have provided on the web, some faithful have chosen to share special favors and blessings they have received from praying this novena. You may read them here.
What is the tradition of Ex Votos? A. Ex votos are simply a Catholic custom of giving thanks for blessings received by means of visual representations. For over 500 years people have expressed thanksgiving by making images which have become known by the name ex voto (from the Latin "in fulfillment of a vow".) On the Infant King website, we provide an opportunity for the faithful to express their gratitude via a contemporary version of the old custom; i.e. electronically.
What is the significance of a monthly virtue meditation on your website? A. The monthly virtues are baby steps that help us imitate the virtues of the Divine Infant, which are the perfections of Christ.
At the end of the novena, a special Children’s Blessing is given. Why a blessing specifically for children? A. Our Lord in the Gospel invited the little children to come to Him. They are a special source of joy for His Sacred Heart. They are pure. In contemporary culture where purity is constantly attacked, what better way to protect the innocence of children than by placing them directly under Our Lord's care and bestowing His blessing upon them.
How many children normally come to the Infant King High Mass and blessing? A. Depends. Usually we get around 40 children on weekdays, but when the High Mass is offered on a Saturday or Sunday, those numbers can double. This number is consistently on the rise and as more people become aware of this devotion they will flock to the Infant King.
How do the children like the Infant King? Have they commented on the liturgical colors of his garment? A. The children are drawn to the Infant King. They see in the beauty of His eyes and in the graciousness of His smile a warm welcome. They remark that He is usually "dressed up" in the same colored vestments as the priest, but on the 25th they see that He "puts on His best clothes" (to use their exact words).
What kinds of questions have the children asked about the Infant King? A. Children are remarkably simple and at the same time astute. They naturally accept that the Infant King be dressed (like a doll, say the little girls), but they also remark that He is dressed in a way that makes them think of a king (crown & globe) and of a priest (cope & stole). They have asked why He can’t stay "closer" to them more often [He is placed at a side-Altar after the procession where they can come very close to say their prayers.] What a wonderful desire: "Lord, remain with us." May that innocent desire of the children echo in our own heart as well.  

Monday, November 25, 2013

'The Council' and the Liturgy: an alternative narrative

One of my favorite bloggers Fr Hunwicke is back after some absence and for this I am most grateful:

25 November 2013

'The Council' and the Liturgy: an alternative narrative
I suppose a common analysis of what happened in the 1960s might be: The Council mandated a fairly light revision of the Liturgy; however, particular interests subsequently gained control of the levers of liturgical power and pressed things to extremes. I suggest that something really quite different happened, realisation of which might have its embarrassments both for Trendies and Traddies.

The fontal point is this: The process of change was already firmly in place. I do not think that the Council, in fact, made any real difference whatsoever. My train of thought was started by reading some words which Annibale Bugnini wrote in the Preface to his 1956 Commentary on the new Holy Week liturgy. I give my own translation of his Latin:
"When the Easter Vigil had been restored, a certain keen liturgist did not hesitate to assert: Pope Pius XII, in the history of Liturgy through the ages, will be 'The Restorer of the Easter Vigil'. Now, indeed, by the help of God's grace he is to be called 'The Restorer of Holy Week'; while in the secret of our hearts we do not doubt that still greater things await this indefatigable Labourer, and it is very likely (nec veritatis specie caret) that He will be 'The Restorer of the entire Sacred Liturgy'".

Remember, also, the extremely radical nature of the 'restored' Holy Week. I venture to say that it is, if anything, more radical than the post-Conciliar changes to the Ordo Missae itself. 1951 and 1955 were simply two stages of which 1969 was the logically coherent third stage. The changes to Holy Week were only less radical than the later changes in that they affected merely one week of the year ... and services which were not of obligation ... and services which, in fact, for the most part, comparatively few people attended.

Now let me bring in Cardinal Ratzinger's famous words of 1999: "After the Second Vatican Council, the impression arose that the pope really could do anything in liturgical matters, especially if he were acting on the mandate of an ecumenical council. ... In fact, the First Vatican Council had in no way defined the pope as an absolute monarch. On the contrary, it presented him as the guarantor of obedience to the revealed Word. The pope's authority is bound to the Tradition of faith, and that also applies to the Liturgy. It is not manufactured by the authorities. Even the pope can only be a humble servant of its lawful development and abiding integrity and identity"*.

I think these are admirable sentiments. My only qualification would be is this: Pius XII had initiated the process of radical alteration, using the same people who were to be prominent after the Council, such as Annibale Bugnini, before and without the mandate of an ecumenical Council. We had come a long way since that admirable and erudite Pontiff Benedict XIV concluded that the disposition of the Psalter in the Roman Breviary could not be changed because there was no evidence that the Roman Church had ever used a different one. I suggest the Twentieth Century liturgical changes would most appropriately be called the Pian-Pauline Reforms. They are changes based on exactly that notion of papal power which Benedict XVI so acutely criticises: that the Pope can do anything. The process of liturgical 'reform' has, from the beginning, been the product of the maximalising Papacy of Pius XII. The 'Council' has only been an episode in that process. I never ceased to be amazed by this central paradox of mid-twentieth century Catholic history: that the 'Progressives' and 'Liberals'were able to transform the Latin Church pretty well overnight by manipulating an absolutist model of Papal power.

I think it will be very interesting to see, over the medium term, how Pope Francis understands his Ministry. It can be easy for a good man with admirable motives and who is facing real problems to use the power which his position gives him to take short cuts. It takes a very learned and a very truly humble Pontiff - such as a Benedict XIV or a Benedict XVI - to understand, and to internalise his perception of, what  he ought not to do (and I'm not only talking about Liturgy). Pope Francis's two recent utterances which bear upon the Hermeneutic of Continuity make me cautiously optimistic. If this man can consolidate the gains made by our beloved Pope Benedict XVI and at the same time prudently develop the teaching of the Magisterium about the Preferential Option for the Poor, he could turn out to be a great Pontiff.

*Fr Aidan Nichols reports that Fr Adrian Fortescue, nearly a century ago, wrote "The Pope is not an irresponsible tyrant who can do anything with the Church that he likes. He is bound on every side ..."

Posted by Fr John Hunwicke at 09:00

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Death and the 'Land of everlasting youth'.......

We as Americans live in the land of "everlasting youth" or we like to think we do. We have become a people obsessed with retaining or regaining youth: wrinkle creams, hair colour, weight loss pills, diets etc. We usually spend our entire lives chasing the phantom of youth until death catches us unaware......... We have a great fear of death as a people. 

We would rather not talk about it. It is considered morbid to talk about death. Children are kept from funerals for fear of damaging them psychologically ... I believe our fascination with Halloween is a actually an attempt to make it (our mortality) something fun. We like things to be fun. So All Hallow's Eve becomes a time to go from house to house getting candy for youngsters or getting drunk at Halloween Parties for adults.......

 Even in death when we must face our mortality we want the dead to appear as though they are sleeping. We went them embalmed pumped full of formaldehyde with lipstick and rouge. We have a great difficulty accepting death for what it actually is: a rather somber affair. We dont even want to wear dark clothing to funerals. We want to don something "bright" or "Cheerful". Few of us have grown up knowing how natural death actually is. We let funeral parlors handle our dead. We even want our funerals to be "up beat" in order to "cheer up" those present. So we choose songs to make us feel good.

 I remember when I first moved to Germany in the 1980s, I saw a coloring book for children with images of graves and placing flowers on graves. I thought to myself, how strange that is. I then learned that at the time few dead were embalmed outside of the United States as it is indeed superfluous (not to mention environmentally hazardous). Who wants carcinogens in their water table? not me. 

When we visit cemeteries on memorial day it's to bring artificial flowers and leave (I remember relating in Germany that we take artificial silk or plastic flowers to our graves and I was met with disbelief)....... Our cemeteries are mostly cared for by landscapers. Cemeteries prefer flat stones so that rider mowers can ride over the top more easily. In the days when I used to run, I ran through cemeteries in Germany. They were always busy places. I remember very old men and women (some in their 90s) riding their bikes there and bringing flowers and plants to decorate graves. They would sit and visit on benches. It was a social place. The German word for cemetery is "Friedhof" literally a "Peace Yard" and they truly are peaceful places. I was most amazed one night walking with a friend when to my right I saw hundreds of flickering lights through the trees.........I was stunned! "What is that?!!" I asked incredulously? She said, "Oh that's a Catholic cemetery". I later learned that each grave had a lantern and contained a 7 day candle. Traditionally, people there go to the cemetery on Sunday afternoon. A beautiful tradition one worthy of emulation.

 My elderly neighbor who in 1991 was in his early 90s every day would don a tie and jacket and attach a wagon to his motorbike filled with flowers, plants or evergreens in winter. One day I asked him where he went every day. He said, "I go to see my wife!" I assumed he went to see her in a home. He said, "she has been dead since 1963".....................

Let us remember our dead today and all through November....

Every year, fifty million people die.

Remember during November to pray for the poor souls in Purgatory. We are asked by holy mother church in the spiritual works of mercy to 'pray for the living and the dead'.  


"Every year, fifty million people die. That comes to about one million per week or about 150,000 every day. Every day, 150,000 people die. Many, if not most, of the people who die or will die have not prepared themselves for death. Many will go to hell. Many will go to purgatory. If we prepare ourselves well now by prayer, by receiving the sacraments, by living a holy life, and by having a strong devotion to the Holy Souls in purgatory, we will not only dramatically increase our chances for avoiding purgatory altogether, but we will also relieve the sufferings of the Holy Souls and help them to enter into the joys of heaven."


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich and Vatican II

A translation of a posting from the Italian Catholic blog, 'MUNIAT INTRANTES'







"I saw a strange church that was built against every rule ... There were no angels to supervise the construction operations. In that church there was nothing that came from above ... [...] This is probably a church of human creation, following the latest fashion [...] there was nothing holy in it ": Blessed Catherine Emmerich (1774-1824) makes use of few but eloquent words to describe a disastrous and worrying situation for the Church of Peter. A new church, of human origin, is constructed as an alternative to the true Church, represented by the "Holy Father, distressed, distressed and hidden" mentioned by the same Emmerich in another vision.

No doubt they are revelations of a destabilizing of the faith of each of us and being thrown into confusion. What is more, apparently it causes a deep wound to the glorious Catholic Tradition, which has the doctrinal infallibility of the Church as the central hub. 

"That the Roman church has never erred, nor, according to the testimony of the Scriptures, can ever err in all eternity": wrote the Holy Pontiff Gregory VII in 1075 preparing his "Dictatus Papae" on the rights of the Pope But for a Catholic "traditional" like me it is certainly nothing new. The voice of Ildebrando Aldobrandeschi of Soana is certainly not the only one: we can not forget that of St. Irenaeus or St Cyprian!

Yet how to reconcile the visions of the Holy German woman with these teachings of the Church Fathers? Or even how they these same would react, in this year of the Faith, in this fiftieth anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, if they saw the majority of priests celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with pro gay flag stoles (for the uninitiated, I refer to  those "nice" ones with the multi-colored flag) or receive of the Blood of Christ in non-precious goblets or give the Holy Eucharist to the people of God in plastic cups? Maybe tacerebbero. Is not this the "false church" mentioned by Emmerich? And who is at fault for such abominations? Is it John XXIII or Paul VI? Or, more generally, the Second Vatican Council? 

None of these is the correct answer. So what is the truth?

The then Cardinal Ratzinger, in "The Ratzinger Report," gives us the answer to our doubts: "I am convinced that the damage we have incurred in these twenty years (1965-1985) are not due to the true Second Vatican Council"  "but to the unleashing, within the Church, latent polemical and centrifugal forces, and perhaps an irresponsible or simply naivety, easy optimism, an emphasis on modernity that has exchanged technical progress today with genuine integral progress,. And outside the Church, the impact with the ideology of liberal-radical individualistic, rationalistic, hedonistic mold. " Oh yes your emmience, a counter or anti-Vatican II ("The false church") has developed which, thanks to the support of modernist trends, has gone on supplanting the authentic Council. 

On the other hand the same John XXIII, in his inaugural speech at the Council, said, "the twenty-first Ecumenical Council wants to convey Catholic doctrine pure and integral without any attenuation or distortion" For the same Pope Bergamo, it was necessary only to "teach more effectively" to usher in a new Pentecost for the Bride of Christ. So much so that almost all of the conciliar documents are pastoral in character. Still, "it is indisputable that the last twenty years (1965-1985) were decidedly unfavorable for the Catholic Church. The results that followed the council seem cruelly opposed to the expectations of all thus the now Pope Emeritus was able to confess, and recommended,  for Catholics to return" to the authentic texts of Vatican II. "

It is the same thought of Pope John Paul II, as indicated by the number 11 of "Pastores Dabo Vobis" about the crisis of the priesthood.

What happened then? It is Simple: someone is operating a modern re-reading of Vatican II, building the False Catholic Church.

Do you remain unconvinced? Well, let's look at some examples together. 

 "Sacrosanctum Concilium," which marks the 50th anniversary, reaffirms the value of the Mass as the unbloody Sacrifice of Christ (No. 47), however in the meantime, no care given to these texts of the session, The attempt has been made to reduce the religious liturgy to a Protestant supper instead.  It took John Paul II to restore life to the true conciliar document with his encyclical on the Eucharist. In the constitution, we find also written: "The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as her own, so in the liturgical actions, on equal terms, it should be given pride of place" (n. 116). This has not been done: we witness daily to "strimpellature" ignoble music during the celebrations. As regards, however, the language to be used during the Mass  the Council wrote: ", in Masses celebrated with a congregation, a fair share of the vernacular may be used, especially in the readings and " the common prayers, "and, according to the conditions of the various places, even in the parts belonging to the people. Care should be taken so that the faithful be able to say or sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them "(n. 54). And again: "The use of the Latin language, is to be preserved in the Latin rites. [...] It can be granted to a larger use of the vernacular, especially in readings and admonitions, in some prayers and songs "(38). And instead there is no trace of Latin except in the celebrations in the extraordinary form and a celebration of the Roman Pontiff. And what about the nomination of men "defrocked" in the communist and socialist lists, even though the Council had recommended Catholics to follow the Church's social doctrine in the political arena? These are just a few of the many examples of the contradiction between the true Vatican Council and, "pastorally reformist" and categorized perfectly in the wake of Tradition, and as such does not exist, but now that modernist  interpretation is so widely practiced by most priests. The Council has blown out its fifty candles, it is true, but no one wants to hear more talk about the implementation, despite the Popes having called the Church to the authentic message of Vatican II.

The modernists are appropriate and if they read it at their leisure: this is the new cunning of Satan to destroy the Holy Church.

In the words of the good old Leo X: Exsurge, Domine, et Judica causam Tuam! 

Gianluca Di Pietro

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Fr. Michel-Marie, a Cassock in Deep Marseille

Fr. Michel-Marie, a Cassock in Deep Marseille

The life, works, and miracles of a priest in a city of France. Who has made the faith blossom again where it had withered 

by Sandro Magister

ROME, December 4, 2012 – The title of this article is the same one that "Avvenire” gave to a feature report from Marseille by its correspondent Marina Corradi, in the footsteps of the pastor of a quarter behind the old port.

A pastor whose Masses are crowded with people. Who hears confessions every evening until late at night. Who has baptized many converts. Who always wears the cassock so that everyone may recognize him as a priest even from far away.

Michel-Marie Zanotti-Sorkine was born in 1959 in Nice, to a family a bit Russian and a bit Corsican. As a young man he sang in the nightclubs in Paris, but then over the years there emerged the vocation to the priesthood he had had since his childhood. His guides were Fr. Joseph-Marie Perrin, who was Simone Weil's spiritual director, and Fr. Marie-Dominique Philippe, founder of the congregation of Saint John. He studied in Rome at the Angelicum, the theological faculty of the Dominicans. He was ordained a priest in 2004 by Cardinal Bernard Panafieu, the archbishop of Marseille at the time. He writes books, the latest of which is entitled "Au diable la tiédeur," to the devil with lukewarmness, and is dedicated to priests. He is pastor at Saint-Vincent-de-Paul.

And in this parish on Rue Canabière, which leads from the old port through ramshackle houses and shops, with many homeless, immigrants, Rom, where tourists do not venture to go, in a Marseille and in a France where religious practice is almost everywhere at the lowest levels, Fr. Michel-Marie has made the Catholic faith blossom again.

How? Marina Corradi went and saw. And she tells what she found.

The feature was published in "Avvenire,” the newspaper of the Italian episcopal conference, on November 29. It is the first in a series that will present witnesses of the faith, known and less well-known, capable of generating evangelical astonishment in those who meet them.



by Marina Corradi

That black tunic fluttering along Rue Canabière, among a crowd more Maghrebi than French, makes you turn around. Check it out, a priest, and dressed like once upon a time, on the streets of Marseille. A dark-haired man, smiling, and yet with something reserved and monastic about him. And what a story behind him: he sang in the nightclubs in Paris, was ordained only eight years ago and since then has been pastor here, at Saint-Vincent-de-Paul.

But in reality the story is even more complicated: Michel-Marie Zanotti-Sorkine, 53, is descended from a Russian Jewish grandfather who immigrated into France and had his daughters baptized before the war. One of these daughters, who escaped from the Holocaust, brought into the world Fr. Michel-Marie, who on his father's side is half Corsican and half Italian. (What a bizarre mix, you think: and you look with amazement at his face, trying to understand what a man is like who has such a tangle of roots behind him). But if one Sunday you enter his packed church and listen to how he speaks of Christ with simple everyday words, and if you observe the religious slowness of the elevation of the host, in an absolute silence, you ask yourself who this priest is, and what it is in him that draws people, bringing back those who are far away.

Finally you have him in front of you, in his white, monastic rectory. He seems younger than his years; he does not have those wrinkles of bitterness which mark the face of a man with time. There is a peace upon him, a joy that is astonishing. But who are you?, you would like to ask him immediately.

In front of a frugal meal, the highlights of an entire life. Two splendid parents. The mother, baptized but only formally Catholic, allows her son to go to church. The faith is imparted to him "by an elderly priest, a Salesian in a black cassock, a man of generous and boundless faith.” The desire, at the age of eight, to be a priest. At thirteen he loses his mother: "The pain devastated me. And yet I never doubted God.” Adolescence, music, and that beautiful voice. The piano bars of Paris, which may seem little suited to discerning a religious vocation. And yet, while the decision slowly ripens, the spiritual fathers of Michel-Marie tell him to keep to the nightlife of Paris: because there as well a sign is needed. Finally the vocation pays off. In 1999, at the age of 40, his childhood wish comes true: a priest, and in a cassock, like that elderly Salesian.

Why the cassock? "For me" – he smiles – "It is a work uniform. It is intended to be a sign for those who meet me, and above all for those who do not believe. In this way I am recognizable as a priest, always. In this way on the streets I take advantage of every opportunity to make friends. Father, someone asks me, where is the post office? Come on, I'll go with you, I reply, and meanwhile we talk, and I discover that the children of that man are not baptized. Bring them to me, I say in the end; and I often baptize them later. I seek in every way to show with my face a good humanity. Just the other day" – he laughs – "in a cafe an old man asked me which horses he should bet on. I gave him the horses. I asked the Blessed Mother for forgiveness: but you know, I said to her, it is to befriend this man. As a priest who was one of my teachers used to tell those who asked him how to convert the Marxists: 'One has to become their friend,' he would reply."

Then, in church, the Mass is stark and beautiful. The affable priest of Canabière is a rigorous priest. Why take so much care with the liturgy? "I want everything to be splendid around the Eucharist. I want that at the elevation, the people should understand that He is here, truly. It is not theater, it is not superfluous pomp: it is inhabiting the Mystery. The heart too needs to feel."

He insists a great deal on the responsibility of the priest, and in one of his books – he has written many books, and still writes songs sometimes – he affirms that a priest who has an empty church must examine himself and say: "It is we who lack fire." He explains: "The priest is 'alter Christus,' he is called to reflect Christ in himself. This does not mean asking perfection of ourselves; but being conscious of our sins, of our misery, in order to be able to understand and pardon anyone who comes to the confessional."

Fr. Michel-Marie goes to the confessional every evening, with absolute punctuality, at five o'clock, without fail. (The people, he says, must know that the priest is there, in any case). Then he remains in the sacristy until eleven o'clock, for anyone who might want to go to him: "I want to give the sign of an unlimited availability." Judging by the constant pilgrimage of the faithful, in the evening, one would say that it works. Like a deep demand that emerges from this city, apparently far removed. What do they want? "The first thing is to hear someone say: you are loved. The second: God has a plan for you. One must not make them feel judged, but welcomed. They must be made to understand that the only one who can change their lives is Christ. And Mary. There are two things that, in my view, permit a return to the faith: the Marian embrace, and impassioned apologetics, which touches the heart."

"Those who seek me out," he continues, "are asking first of all for human assistance, and I try to give all the help possible. Not forgetting that the beggar needs to eat, but also has a soul. To the offended woman I say: send me your husband, I will talk to him. But then, how many come to say that they are sad, that their lives are no good . . . Then I ask them: how long has it been since you went to confession? Because I know that sin is a burden, and the sadness of sin is a torment. I am convinced that what makes many people suffer is the lack of the sacraments. The sacrament is the divine within the reach of man: and without this nourishment we cannot live. I see grace at work, and that people change."

Days given in their entirety, on the streets or in the confessional, until nighttime. Where does he get the energy? He – almost shyly, as one speaks of a love – talks of a deep relationship with Mary, of an absolute confidence with her: "Mary is the act of total faith, in the abandonment beneath the Cross. Mary is absolute compassion. She is pure beauty offered to man." And he loves the rosary, the humility of the rosary, the priest of Canabière: "When I hear confessions, I often say the rosary, which does not prevent me from listening; when I give communion, I pray." You listen to him, intimidated. But then, should all priests have an absolute dedication, almost like saints? "I am not a saint, and I do not believe that all priests must be saints. But they can be good men. The people will be attracted by their good face."

Are there any problems, in streets with such a strong presence of Muslim immigrants? No, he says simply: "They respect me and this garment." In church, he welcomes everyone with joy: "Even the prostitutes. I give them communion. What should I say? Become honest, before you enter here? Christ came for sinners, and I have the anxiety, in withholding a sacrament, that he could bring me to account for it one day. But do we still know the power of the sacraments? I have the misgiving that we have excessively bureaucratized the admission to baptism. I think of the baptism of my Jewish mother, which in terms of the request of my grandfather was merely a formal act: and yet, even from this baptism there came a priest."

And the new evangelization? "Look," he says as we say goodbye in his rectory, "the older I get, the more I understand what Benedict XVI says: everything truly starts afresh from Christ. We can only return to the source."

Later, I glimpse him at a distance, on the street, with that black garment ruffled by his rapid stride. "I wear it," he told you, "so that I may be recognized by someone I might never meet otherwise. That stranger, who is very dear to me."


Professor Albert Drexel (1889-1977)

Shortly before his death, Fr. Drexel had said: "My greatest grief in the hour of death is the dilapidation of faith in the Roman Catholic Church. My last desire is the reconciliation of Rome with Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre."

Professor Albert Drexel (1889-1977) held three doctor degrees as an Austrian scientist of philology and ethnology. Born in Hohenems in the Austrian province of Voralberg, Austria, he was the third of five brothers, who were also priests. He was ordained in 1914.

In 1932, he had a private audience with Pope Pius XI. He taught as professor in the Vatican University for Missions and was later used as an expert in racial questions at the Vatican. Professor Drexel had friendly relations with the former Italian head of state, Alcide De Gasperi, and with the Austrian Chancellor, Engelbert Dollfuss, who was killed by the Nazis. He celebrated only the Tridentine Mass.

Professor Drexel died on March 9, 1977, and is buried beside his priest brother in Batschuns, Austria. Professor Drexel's book, "Faith is Greater than Obedience," containing revelations given to him by Our Lord from 1970 to 1977, has been published in the English language.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Priebke funeral: a clarifying interview

Considering the uncharitable, unchristian and quite frankly rather nutty response from many in the Church, the media and blogosphere regarding this issue, I thought it prudent to post this interview from the SSPX webpage to clarify the issue. 

The Priebke funeral: a clarifying interview

October 25, 2013 
District of the US
Details about the Erich Priebke funeral are given during an interview with Fr. Petrucci, the SSPX's District Superior of Italy.

The Priebke Funeral: an interview with Fr. Pierpaolo Petrucci

Hosted by Marco Bongi, Italian journalist with the District Superior of Italy
Reverend Father Pierpaolo,
several days now after the media “disaster” in relation to the funeral services of the former [S.S.] commandant Erich Priebke, one of the perpetrators of the terrible massacre of the Ardeatine Caves, we ask you for some conclusive consideration [of the event], for the purpose of definitively dispelling the polemics and the exploitation of it. Indeed, in those heated days there was no lack of superficial reporting and half-truths. Therefore we seek to bring clarity to the matter.
Q. 1. When and by whom was the request made to celebrate the funeral of the deceased?
A. On Monday morning [October 14] the lawyer commissioned by the family to make the funeral arrangements telephoned us to ask about our availability for funeral services scheduled for Tuesday, October 15, with all the necessary authorizations from the civil authorities. The ceremony was to be celebrated in private and was supposed to be a purely religious act, without any ideological exploitation or media amplification. Therefore the utmost discretion was required, which we scrupulously observed.
Q. 2. Given the prohibition imposed by the Vicariate of Rome, why did you agree to the celebration?
A. The vicariate’s refusal to grant a funeral to a baptized person who received the sacraments of Confession and the Eucharist — whatever his crimes and sins may have been — is not in keeping with Church law and Catholic doctrine. After we learned that Priebke had been baptized and was receiving the sacraments, that act immediately appeared to us to be a grave injustice to the deceased and his family. Our gesture was also meant to be one of reparation for such a thoughtless decision.
Q. 3. Almost all the news agencies reported that Erich Priebke had never repented of his actions during the Second World War. The Society’s press release, in contrast, speaks about a Catholic who died after being reconciled with God. Can you explain how matters really stand?
A. It seems that there is an intention to cultivate hatred on the part of a certain element in the press that claims the right to decide who can be pardoned and who cannot, dictating laws to the Church in order to impose its own criteria for who has the right to a religious funeral, and sending a lynch mob after those who are unwilling to submit.
Erich Priebke, who was baptized a Protestant, in the post-war years converted to Catholicism with his wife and had his children baptized.[1] Over the course of his life he then received pastoral care from several priests. During his confinement to house arrest, he asked for and obtained in 2002 permission to go to church to attend Holy Mass. Until the end of his life he regularly received the sacraments of Confession and the Eucharist.
Upon his return to Italy, on the occasion of the public audience in front of the Military Tribunal of Rome held on April 3, 1996, he read a letter in the presence of the families of the victims, in which he manifested his grief, deploring the horrible act of obedience that he had had to perform in those circumstances:[2]
From the depths of my heart I feel the need to express my condolences for the sorrow of the relatives of the victims of the Ardeatine Caves.... As a believer I have never denied this tragic fact; for me the order to participate in the action was a great personal tragedy.... I think of the dead with reverence and I feel united with the living in their sorrow.
In his final interview, granted in July of this year, in the midst of historical considerations that are certainly debatable, there are moral considerations of the utmost importance. These are the ones that interest a priest. When the journalist asked him whether he was justifying anti-Semitism, Priebke answered:
No, .... I repeat, anti-Semitism means hatred, indiscriminate hatred.... As an old man, deprived of freedom, I have always rejected hatred. I never wanted to hate even those who hated me. I am only talking about the right to criticize and I am explaining the reasons for it.
He rejects the cult of race as a “mistake that led down a path of no return”. Speaking about mass extermination, he declared:
My position is: unconditional condemnation of actions of that sort. All indiscriminate acts of violence against communities, without taking into account the actual individual responsibilities, are unacceptable, to be condemned absolutely.
I see no reason to call into question the sincerity of these statements.
Q. 4. In light of what you have just explained, do you think that Kommandant Priebke was a “public sinner” who ought to have been denied a public funeral?
A. According to the current Code of Canon Law, an ecclesiastical funeral can be denied only to someone who gave no sign of repentance before death.[3] Therefore I do not see how Erich Priebke could be considered unworthy of funeral rites.
Never has there been so much talk in the Church about charity, about love of neighbor as today, especially during this pontificate. But when it is a matter of putting these virtues into practice according to the Gospel, even when it is not politically correct and it is necessary to defy popular opinions and the media, then things are different....
The Church, however, cannot bend her knee to the world unless she wants to earn the rebuke of hypocrisy that Jesus directed at the Pharisees in the Gospel.
The mercy of God goes beyond political affiliations, even the most reprehensible ones, and surpasses even the most serious sins, provided that there is repentance, the one fundamental condition. The Church bases [her judgment] on external acts. A Catholic who shows repentance for his sins has the right to funeral ceremonies. None of us can judge the innermost conscience of a man, but only God, and it is up to Him to make the final ruling. The Catholic religion is one of mercy and forgiveness, and not of hatred or vendetta.
Q. 5. We have seen, however, some prominent ecclesiastical personages acknowledge Priebke’s right to an ecclesiastical funeral.
A. Yes, we have heard a few voices in the wilderness, and that does them honor. I was very pleased to read the statements by Cardinal Cottier as well as the interview with Cardinal Montezemolo, the nephew of the colonel who was killed at the Ardeatine Caves. I was moved then by the testimony of several relatives of the victims who show solidarity after having granted pardon long ago, and who now join in prayer for the deceased. This alone is the Christian attitude.
Q. 6. Was Priebke a Catholic affiliated with the SSPX, or at least did he occasionally attend its chapels?
A. No, I had never met him, nor did he ever attend the services of the Society of St. Pius X. I had read that he had been baptized and that he had received permission to leave house arrest to go to Mass. I knew then that a priest was ministering to him regularly.
Q. 7. Many newspapers also reported that the funeral services had not really been celebrated or else that they had been interrupted. How did things really go in those agitated hours?
A. The remains arrived around 5:30 p.m., but the family members and friends who had been invited to the ceremony could not get in because of the demonstrators. After several attempts were made, the lawyer decided to postpone the funeral, since in those conditions, in his estimation, it was not possible to fulfill the commission that the family had entrusted to him.
At around 7:20 p.m., with around twenty people in attendance, I then celebrated the Mass for the deceased in the absence of the body.
In the meantime the coffin had been placed in a room on the ground floor, where a mortuary had been set up. In the late evening, in order to fulfill my priestly duty, I proposed to the lawyer a blessing of the remains with the funeral ceremony that the Church designates for the end of the [Requiem] Mass. In his presence therefore, and with a few other persons, that ceremony was therefore performed. I had the opportunity to speak about this also in a recent interview granted to Andrea Tornielli of La Stampa.
Q. 8. We consider the reactions from some sectors of the Catholic world to be among the most negative reactions to your decision. We were especially astonished by the rather uncharitable tone taken by the director of the Radio Maria broadcasting station, which more than any other ought to teach what mercy is. The bishop of Albano Laziale also issued very harsh statements against the Society of St. Pius X, going so far as to maintain that it is not part of the Catholic Church. What can you tell us about this?
A. Belonging to the Church is not only something purely juridical. St. Thomas Aquinas explains that the first condition for being part of the Mystical Body of Christ is faith. Unfortunately, after the Second Vatican Council, new doctrines were taught by the ecclesiastical authorities that contradicted the constant teaching of the Church. Our Society, which was regularly recognized by the Church on November 1, 1970, was then unjustly persecuted because of its opposition to those changes. Changes that then give rise to behaviors that are contrary to Catholic teaching, such as denying a funeral to a baptized person who dies reconciled with God, in order to conform to political correctness.
Again with respect to authority, the Society of St. Pius X has always opposed those errors, convinced that the greatest service that it can render to the Church is not servile conformity but rather the complete proclamation of Catholic teaching and the denunciation of everything that is opposed to it, even if it is proclaimed by a part of the hierarchy.
To assert that we are not Catholic, especially when it is done by priests who ought to know the teaching of the Church, is a sheer falsehood that might require public reparation.
On the other hand, I am aware that many Catholics and even many bishops judge us without knowing us, often on the basis of prejudices and common opinions. The bishop of Albano, whom every priest of our priory mentions every day in the Canon of the Mass as the local bishop, is always welcome among us and can find out whether in fact we are not part of the Church as he declared, perhaps imprudently.
Q. 9. Other commentators, who obviously were poorly informed, likened your decision to the positions of Bishop Richard Williamson or of Fr. Floriano Abrahamowicz. What can you tell us on this subject?
A. As the District Superior of the Society of St. Pius X in Italy, I have to make it clear that both Bishop Williamson and Fr. Floriano Abrahamowicz were expelled from our Society precisely because some of their positions are incompatible with the vocation of the Society. Their statements in no way represent the official thinking of the Society of St. Pius X. Any comparison is therefore purely gratuitous. Here I must note, furthermore, that some statements touted in the newspapers as mine are likewise not representative of our thinking. God’s mercy excludes no one when there is true repentance.
Q. 10. What was your experience of that afternoon in the community?
A. On the day of the funeral we unfortunately witnessed manifestations of senseless hatred, such as the attack on a hearse with spitting and kicking, in plain sight of a mayor who was wearing the tricolor [i.e., Italian red-white-and-green] sash [i.e., in his official capacity]. I was left speechless by a banner that some of the demonstrators were carrying, with the inscription “The Eternal Father may have forgiven you, but we don’t.
This funeral was the occasion for an open conflict of two opposed doctrines: on the one hand the teaching of Jesus Christ and of the Church, which is centered on mercy and forgiveness, and on the other hand ideologies that neither know how to pardon the other nor want to. The unchangeable law of Love and Charity and the law of hatred and vendetta, of “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”.
The law of Christ is the one that we, though unworthy, resolve to follow, far from any ideological polemic.
Q. 11. Finally, some newspapers did not fail to try to foster the image of a St. Pius X community in Albano that is poorly integrated with the local populace, which supposedly does not welcome or appreciate the presence of the priory in that area. Is that truly the case?
A. Our Society has been present here in Albano since 1974. It prepared several generations of children for their First Communion and for Confirmation and conducts works of mercy on behalf of the sick and the poor, to whom it regularly distributes food and clothing. Therefore we have many friends in the populace who have also expressed their solidarity with us in this incident. I refuse to believe that the ferocious crowd that indulged last Tuesday in sectarian hatred in the presence of a dead person’s coffin could possibly be representative of the inhabitants of Albano.
To conclude, I would like to quote a sentence that Saint Paul writes in his Epistle to the Galatians: “If I yet [= still] pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ” (Gal 1:10). I think that this should be the program and the ideal of a man of the Church: always to act in conformity with the teaching of Christ, without ever seeking compromises with the spirit of the world.
Erich Priebke, Autobiografia (Rome: Associazione uomo e libertà, 2003), 150, 160, 161, 170.
2 Exclusive interview granted to Francesco Giorgino, after Priebke was sentenced to prison. See YouTube, “Guai ai vinti, storia di Erich Priebke 10/11” [“Woe to the defeated, the story of Erich Priebke 10/11”].
3 CIC (1983) nn. 1184-1185.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Father Leonardo Castellani's ficitional Pope and Papa Francesco a comparison

I read with interest about Father Leonardo Castellani the Argentine priest and author who was a former Jesuit on the blog 'Unam Sanctam Catholicam" and the Kingship of Christ. I had read a little bit about Father Castellani in the past but decided to do a bit of research to see whether there was any kind of connection between Fr Castellani and Papa Francesco. I found this interesting article about a fictional work of Father Castellani's from the early 1960s on a fictional Pope and found it fascinating. 

"John XXIII (XXIV)" was written in 1964
Striking similarities between a novel by Leonardo Castellani and the figure of Francisco
Argentine Pope, going underground, "smells like sheep ', go to' the periphery ', censorship, self-righteousness, creates a select group of cardinals and is not it Francis?
Updated June 19, 2013

Is the Jesuit writer Leonardo Castellani (1899-1981) inspiring some of the guidelines of the pontificate of Francisco? The hypothesis is strong and risky, but by no means far-fetched. And naturally the question will be raised at least as an intellectual exercise, for whoever approaches his novel John XXIII (XXIV), "fantasy" (as he defines himself) published in 1964 . On some pages, read in the context of the life of its author, the similarities between the protagonist, Ducadelia, and Pope Jorge Mario Bergoglio are even puzzling. Bergoglio Castellani known figure. Both are fellow countrymen and of the same religion. Bergoglio was a Jesuit, but not yet a priest, when in 1966 Castellani was restored to the exercise of the priesthood, a story that was not lost on anyone in the field of the Argentina Church , let alone within the Society of Jesus , who had been expelled in 1949. In 1971 Castellani is offered to re-entry into the order, which he rejected for health reasons, and in 1973 Father Bergoglio, who had been ordained in 1969, became the provincial of Jesuits in Argentina and held that post for six years, leaving in 1979. Two years after Castellani dies . And a fundamental point: Castellani was not Peronist, but one of the authors of reference of Argentine Catholic nationalism ... and Bergoglio was formed and worked in his youth and as a priest with the Peronist right , drinking from the intellectual tradition of Argentine Catholic nationalism although it also  incorporates elements  from outside. CONCLUSION: Bergoglio knew and appreciated the vicissitudes of Castellani . But what of his books? " I know he read some of his works , as His Majesty Dulcinea and San Augustine and us . And probably several or many others ", explains Carlos Biestro , a priest who for years coordinated the editing or republication of the works of Fr Castellani. It is true that Bergoglio did not promote the editing of the books of Castellani. But Father Biestro points to a fact: " I know that the current pope wanted Castellani returned to the Society of Jesus. He knew he was a great writer, and that sooner or later the conspiracy of silence of the Church  would fail, and should show  an Ignatian Castellani reconciled with the order. " It's hard to know whether such admiration for the Castellani-greatness that only the very poor or the very sectarian had been denied, resulted in sympathy with their ideas. But this is where we must begin to consider the elements of thought of Francis as pope who "knows" Castellani , and overflowing in the above mentioned novel. Father Biestro reminds us, for example, two themes very typical of Francis : the smell sheep and peripheries. "Become follow the scent" On March 28, at the Chrism Mass, the Pope delivered a phrase that filled the headlines: "Be shepherds with the scent of one's sheep", which he addressed to the priests. The allusion is so graphic that requires no explanation. Well, in The Gospel of Jesus Christ , the commentary to Sunday after Easter, Castellani explains that Christ said that the bad shepherds "are like wolves among sheep (or rams), alluding to the custom of Palestinian shepherds of putting on a jacket of sheepskin(sheepskin) to be followed by the scent. He took the sheepskin of our flesh to follow him, but in him this was not a disguise, it was true. " No to the "self-referential Church" Similarly, on May 19, at the Mass of Pentecost, Francisco warned of the danger a "self-referential Church" and insisted his old idea, reiterating also as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, there you ought to go to the "existential peripheries to announce the life of Jesus Christ" .  Father Biestro wonders "whether, when the Pope says the Church should not be self-referential, but must go to the peripheries of existence, there is an echo of this reflection of Father Castellani." And we read this passage by Fr Castellani : "Santa Teresa sought friends everywhere, because she needed them. One of the most vehement reproaches against her was seen in a nun seeking friendships, and even friendships of men! The belief that the Cloister, class or clan to which I belong is a complete world and is everything a man may need is one of the most ridiculous and sinister of vanities. According to the word of Christ, the Catholic Church itself is an open thing and out of their enclosures are souls that belong unknowingly. " A fantasy? But beyond these ideas or others who swarm to Father Castellani's works and also by the preaching swarm of Francisco, where it really borders on the prophetic similarities is in the novel John XXIII (XXIV). A fantasy , written by Father Leonardo Castellani in 1964.  We went to Juan Manuel de Prada who framed that work for us. The author of the recent best seller I find death (Destination) was the one who, through their writing in 2007-2008 for the Spanish discovered the figure of the great Argentine writer . And then prepared, prefaced and annotated a few of his books have been published in Spain since then: How to survive intellectually century(LibrosLibres, 2008), The Apokalypsis of San Juan (Homo Legens, 2010), pen in hand(LibrosLibres, 2010 ), The Gospel of Jesus Christ (Christianity, 2011) and papers of Benjamin Benavides (Homo Legens, 2013). Inspired by Baron Corvo " John XXIII (XXIV) is one of the most extraordinary works of Castellani, and at the same time , one of the most characteristic of his personal conception of literature, the world and the Church, "explains Prada, remembering that Castellani was not entirely original, but it was inspired by Hadrian VII written in 1904 by Frederick Rolfe ( 1860-1913), better known as Baron Corvo literally : "It's a wonderful papal fantasy written by Corvo, for personal relief, imagining himself (under the transcript of one such Rose) reaching the papacy, having been rehabilitated and ordained a priest (Corvo, who wanted to be a priest in his youth, was expelled from the seminary for his proven homosexuality), and after a conclave full of fun adventures. " Moreover, "inevitably, Castellani, who had also been removed from priestly ministry during a rough phase of his life , after his expulsion from the Society of Jesus must have felt twinned with the protagonist of the novel  of Corvo, although fiercely sarcastic (and sometimes irreverent) denotes a truly overwhelming knowledge of the procedures cfor the election of a pope and full adherence to Catholic dogma, "says Prada. "Castellani's novel follows almost by heart the premise of Corvo: also its protagonist is a priest who has been postponed the (evidently a transcript Castellani itself), who is presented as Spanish translator of Hadrian VII . Even some novel adventures of Castellani are directly inspired by the novel of Corvo, such as the theme of the double usage , "says the writer Zamora, born in Barakaldo and given the Planeta Prize in 1997 with The Tempest. Cervantes, inspiring Castellani And it highlights a second literary inspiration, the Cervantes, "which is otherwise constant feature of the work of Castellani. Remember that he wrote a couple of works inspired by characters of Don Quixote: Sancho's new government (1942) and Her Majesty Dulcinea (1956), a novel eschatological background with which John XXIII (XXIV) holds great similarities. 's protagonist John XXIII (XXIV), as we know the end is a new Quixote , is a very common in Castellani, whose characters are always a noble race, always conflicted with the spirit of their time. " appears Ducadelia Francisco The Well, If that's the Ducadelia, which is the name the protagonist of the novel, whose features reproduce itself Castellani. Ducadelia is taken as an expert to Vatican II, which is still being celebrated during the writing of the novel, by the Archbishop of Buenos Aires. Ducadelia's interventions reconcile classroom, coupled and framed within the global turmoil starts after the triumph of communism in various areas of the planet, and the death of John XXIII, Pope unexpectedly makes him thanks to a bizarre system designation . " Juan XXIII (XXIV) is a novel that, like all the works of Castellani,must be interpreted in an eschatological key , "explains Prada:" The Church as a Church here which appears approaching recent times: the wars and rumors of wars are the constant background, the Pope has been evicted from the Vatican and has taken refuge in St. John Lateran, the Masonic siege to the Church (and even its infiltration into the church itself) is constant. The sight which pushed Leo XIII to write the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel which was read in the past at the end of the Mass seems an apparent reference to the plot of the novel. " Anyway, Ducadelia becomes a bold reformer Pope . He manages ( I shall not reveal how to avoid the sin of  spoilers ) to travel by subway (metro) (as made ​​Bergoglio) and so keep in touch with people (which is why Francis lives in the Casa Santa Marta). want less bureaucracy the Church (as suggested Bergoglio Cardinal in the consistory before the conclave as cardinal revelation of Havana) and to reduce the curia cardinals relies exclusively in twelve (eight has appointed Francisco to lead the reform of the Curia). Contra-righteousness and hypocrisy But one of the most shocking things in like Francisco-Castellani is the continual reference to self-righteousness and hypocrisy . This is an unusual subject in papal teaching, which however has referred Francisco on several occasions (most recently, in the homily in Santa Marta on June 4, which defined it as "the language of corruption"), following what was a constant in his preaching as a bishop. "Behind hypocritical thinking there is a sick heart," he said in the homily at the Mass of the First Congress of Evangelization of Culture held in Buenos Aires in 2006 , where he also noted the hypocrisy and sufficiency as "two patterns of self-righteousness."Well, Castellani as any reader of his knows that this is one of the central issues of his work , not the least because he believed  himself to be the victim of hypocrisy in his long ordeal of canonical sanction. Your best essays and letters on the subject were published under the title Christ and the Pharisees . And John XXIII (XXIV) not allusions missing "righteousness Perezco victim in the Church!" proclaims in his deathbed Archbishop of Buenos Aires. " Self-righteousness is the specific condition of true religion" proclaims meanwhile another character of the novel. Aires reform interprets Prada the reformist winds of Pope Francisco in relation to those proposed by Ducadelia: "How could it be otherwise in Castellani, along with the eschatological key present in his own personal sense of humor, which as with every great comedian is a perfectly serious mood. In this key must be read all the reforms that the Argentine Pope dreamed up by Castellani and introduced into the Church , which again proved his clairvoyance the prophetic reform of the curia and relief from bureaucratic structures of the Church, battle for righteousness, etcetera. " Prada also asked, as an expert, the possible influence of one over another: "I do not know if the new Pope will read the work of Castellani, but, of course, the nature of the protagonist character of Castellani and Papa Francisco have very striking commonalities ome (Castellani's character is more harsh and irascible character, of course, but both are a little squeamish friends and disrespectful of human respect both.) And John XXIII (XXIV) proposes, from absolute orthodoxy, a government plan radically subjugating the Church, some aspects of which I dare say I could subscribe to Francisco . " enclosing Surprises "John XXIII (XXIV)" With all these assumptions, some of the elements of the fictional John XXIII (XXIV) are surprisingly anecdotal, but curious: the protagonist Pope Pius Ducadelia (transcript of Castellani), is appointed Cardinal of Santa Práxedes , the same church where St Robert Bellarmine was for a few days Cardinal , for which Paul VI created a cardinal title ... which was held by Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio when elected. But then there are questions of content. Ducadelia also wants a "Church of the poor." For example, allocates 12 million between them to be elected. " "The Treasure of the Church are the poor," said the Pope , and not a single sentence in it, "narrates the novel, where he reports that John XXIII (XXIV) is so frugal that" he eats with a dollar a day. "And also does not live in the Vatican apartments , although for reasons different from Francisco-the war that has been engulfed the world and its political consequences. The new pope commanded to build an office building in the Lateran and lives there: that is, a collective, like Santa Marta. Moreover, one of the principles of ecclesiastical reform posed by Castellani is that "neither bishops nor the parishes and religious orders may take credit roles of any kind . All church property will  be invested in real estate. " More trivia: although Castellani has no sympathy with the cultural milieu of the Jewish community of Buenos Aires, the Pope who is in this novel does. Like Francis (whose excellent community relations Argentina are known Jewish) Ducadelia is a friend of Israel . receives donations Even from rabbis who admire him, and his visit to Jerusalem is remembered as "historic" by the hundreds of thousands of Israelites who are received en mass. remember? Francisco the first homily as Pope, the Cardinals, in Thanksgiving Mass after his election? "When we walk without the Cross, when we build without the Cross and when we confess to a Christ without a Cross , we are not disciples of the Lord, we are worldly, "he said. Let us compare now with this Ducadelia phrase:" Today we must not return to the easy religion should not mix milk and honey to the vinegar of the Passion , that stinks. "It is true that the usual reflection in the field of Christian spirituality, but it is striking that "two" Popes (one real, one fictional), have as their founding principle such consider their pontificates. reform of the Curia are original Neither today, nor were 1964 Curia criticisms of a "bureaucratic." That Francis wants to reform it, is a fact, it has created a commission to study the matter. Well, the reform principles outlined in John XXIII (XXIV) are based on the " decentralization of ecclesiastical government . "How?" delegating much of his supreme "in 52 Patriarchs appointed by him. Does this have something to do with the insistence of Francisco of himself as " Bishop of Rome "? also appoints twelve cardinals Ducadelia (Francisco eight) as his personal advice . True for Ducadelia those are permanent and with Francis are, in principle, only to reform the Curia, but ... it's another coincidence. As a result of its reforms, the Church of Pope John XXIII (XIV) "had fallen by two thirds the old machinery" with the idea that the Pope left in writing, to lessen "the impersonal bureaucracy in the management of ecclesiastical affairs. " How to govern Now is it the same to reduce bureaucracy or delegating authority,as an exercise? In a recent article,  Sandro Magister made ​​clear that , noting the "obfuscation" of supporters to democratize the Church because that is not the intention of Francis . " Pope Francis wished to be himself, and not others, who choose its eight directors which, therefore, are called to respond to him alone , and not also to an elected assembly, "noted the Vatican.  who also pointed out the similarity between the form of government of Francisco Bergoglio Pope and the Jesuit superior, "Bergoglio has been provincial superior and has assimilated the style. At the apex of the Company attendees around the general, and who are appointed by him, representing the respective geographical areas. Decisions are taken collectively, decides only the general, with direct and immediate powers . Attendees should not agree among themselves and with the general, but advise one by one, with maximum freedom. " Let us see how he governs Ducadelia (Castellani also had been a Jesuit, but no longer, and knew the methods) and the maintenance of authority despite his apparent deal: "'The less I get myself into the running of the Church, is not it better?" Actually it got much more effectively than previous Popes, the latest determinations were hers , and sometimes came like a thunderbolt ... The Pope frequently ran the various bureaus without interfering much in the decisions he liked most correct and train your colleagues, and then give them responsibility. The last instance in case of error was reserved protested him, of course. " In conclusion ... There is no sufficient reason, according to various experts consulted, to consider Francisco one castellaniano ., however, the points of the life and work Castellani, specifically in his novel 1964, which evoke the personality, words and decisions of the current pope seems more than a curious literary coincidence . probably be explained by the membership of both to the same cultural tradition, with factors as strongly as the common homeland, the Ignatian common affiliation and politico-ecclesiastical reference of twentieth century Argentina. Anyway, it is an excuse to read John XXIII (XXIV) , recently reissued, or any other of  Fr Leonardo Castellani book contributions to contemporary Catholic thought . Which always worth it.